Prologue to December 2017
May we cherish the light entrusted to us ...
In the beginning there was darkness
and an empty space.
Nothing moved, yet there was a sense of presence.
Unseen beings waited there,
almost invisible, delicate as the bare branches
of the winter trees.
Fireflies glimmered in the bushes.
As the sun rose the space was touched by light,
and the area was defined.
All was silent, still and mysterious.
As the time passed in years and centuries
green grass appeared.
Trees grew, and there was the sound of bird-song
as dawn broke: it was the only sound.
Animals began to approach the numinous space.
Oxen, which had ploughed fields, came.
Their vaporised breath was visible in the cold air.
There was a distant sound of hooves ...
In the shadow hidden beings were waiting.
A man, and a woman riding on a donkey,
entered our time and reached the sacred space.
The stars shone brightly in the silence of the night.
A shooting comet heralded a new beginning
in the darkness of the night.
There was a sudden cry as a new born baby
entered our world.
In the silence the Father whispered
This is my beloved Son
as new light and hope shone upon the earth.
The earth has grown old with its burden of care
But at Christmas it is always young.
The heart of the jewel breaks through the air
When the song of the angels is sung.
Verse by Philip Brooks
In the mid 1850s a new feast came into being
in the Catholic Church which is celebrated
annually on this day:
The Immaculate Conception of Our Lady.
It has often been said that Our Lady loves the rain -
today we have had hail and snow !
The hungry gulls waited on the roof of Emmaus
to eat the bread - duly broken -
which I scattered for them.
A strong wind is whirling the hail and snow around.
The gulls have now disappeared.
They returned for a while when the sun shone...
Our garden on the morning of December 8th 2017
Since then snow has been falling steadily.
It is Sunday 10th and the poor birds
no longer have the clear curved path to feed from,
although I did go our before the snow fell in earnest
and the path was viable - the first feed was for our garden birds,
and the second for the gulls waiting on the various roofs.
Many of them may not have experienced snow before ....
The above photographic area is now covered by snow,
and every branch has a white top layer..
On a lighter note I looked at a photograph - taken yesterday -
and tilted it .....Can you see the face ?!
The remnants of snow disappeared
during the night.
They were washed away by the rain,
as were the foot-prints of various birds and beasts......
including ours !
It was only later that I saw some remaining
patches of snow in another part of the garden
closer to the front fence and the road ...
It still feels very cold outside.
The distant Welsh hills look misty:
are we due for more snow ?
The herring gulls are still around,
although they have been fed twice today.
I am more concerned for our large garden birds,
which I feed in the early morning - before the gulls appear.
In this season of fleeting hail and rain,
of much post and loving greetings,
when we have an artificial Christmas tree in the Hall,
and a small crib scene close by -
when Christmas post and parcels arrive,
and welcome greetings pile-up on my desk -
and I am the cook for the week -
and the garden birds need feeding
and the gulls screech for food, which they duly receive -
and cat Brunie stays indoors
because of the weather -
this becomes a month both of remembrance and activity !
Light-bearing Christ, come down to us
And light in darkness sow ;
Come down and save our fallen world
Whose sinful ways you know.
Prepare us for your light and truth,
who watch and wait for you;
Restore lost dignity to man:
Come down and make us new.
An Advent hymn from a Stanbrook Hymnal
The last few days have been overcast.
When one of our Sisters walked into Chester
on the 21st day of December
she took this photograph of the River Dee
from the bridge.
She called the view The Misty Dee
as the photograph was enhanced
by mysterious reflections.
JOURNEY OF THE MAGI
A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey.
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter .....
All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death ? There was Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt -
I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different,
This Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us,
like Death, our death ....
It now Tuesday 26th December
and the time has come to end the Monthly Diary of this year.
May all who read this be blessed,
and able to look forward with HOPE,
even in the present troubled state of the world.
Most of our trees and plants have borne fruit -
may that be equally true of us
in the spiritual sense.
LOVE IS STRONGER THAN DEATH.